16:47 31 January 2017
An international team of scientists is currently working on a £2m project to develop humanoid robots with cultural awareness and a good bedside manner. The robots are expected to help look after older people in care homes or sheltered accommodation. Academics say that robots, which will offer support with everyday tasks, could alleviate pressures on care homes and hospitals.
Prof Irena Papadopoulos, expert in trans-cultural nursing, said: "As people live longer, health systems are put under increasing pressure.
"In the UK alone, 15,000 people are over 100 years of age and this figure will only increase.
"Assistive, intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressures in hospitals and care homes as well as improving care delivery at home and promoting independent living for the elderly.
"It is not a question of replacing human support but enhancing and complementing existing care."
She added: "We are starting with care homes and with people who are semi-independent living in sheltered housing, but we do believe that in the future the robots would become acceptable for people to have in their own homes."
Dr Sanjeev Kanoria, executive chairman of Softbank Robotics that manufactured the robots, said: "Robots can support care workers by helping to reduce errors in medication and assisting them with advanced technology to help vulnerable residents, live safer independent lives in care homes and at home."